The Top 5 Advantages of Joining a Credit Union in 2018

December 20, 2017 | White Rose Credit Union | Financial Wellness

If you haven’t already become a member of a credit union, 2018 is the perfect time to experience an alternative financial institution! Credit unions exist to give consumers a financial choice. Banks are not your only option! Discover the top five advantages of joining a credit union this upcoming year.

  1. 1. It’s incredibly easy to join.

The requirements to join a credit union are not as strict as they used to be. There are many credit unions available, like White Rose CU, that are community-based rather than employee-based. That means you simply have to live, work, worship, or attend school in a geographic area rather than work for a specific company. Almost every person in the U.S. could qualify for membership at a local credit union.

Use a resource like ASmarterChoice.org to find credit unions nearby you and a list of their eligibility requirements. Once you’re ready to join, you have the option to apply in-person or online! There will be a minimum dollar amount to join, to show you have a stake in the credit union. That number is miniscule, usually around $5.

  1. 2. They can be your 1-stop shop for financial services.

Since credit unions are typically smaller than large banks, that can lead to the misconception they don’t offer the same number of products and services. However, credit unions like White Rose CU offer all of the same products as the banks in our area. Here are just a few of the products and services you’ll find at a local credit union.

  • Checking accounts
  • Debit cards
  • Savings accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Retirement savings accounts
  • Auto loans
  • Personal loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Mortgages
  • Student loans
  • & more!

They can sometimes even offer more than a bank chooses to! Take ATMs for example. Bankrate created this list of banks with the most ATMs in the U.S.

  1. 10. Fifth Third Bank – 2,650
  2. 9. Citigroup – 3,200
  3. 8. Citizens Bank – 3,200
  4. 7. BB&T – 3,361
  5. 6. BMO Harris Bank – 4,775
  6. 5. U.S. Bancorp – 5,001
  7. 4. PNC Bank – 8,996
  8. 3. Wells Fargo – 12,800
  9. 2. Bank of America – 16,062
  10. 1. JPMorgan Chase – 18,623

Compare that to White Rose Credit Union’s surcharge-FREE ATM network which has over 1,000 ATMs. Members can use ATMs fee-free at any ATM with a CU$ logo, and at all Rutters, Sheetz, Royal Farms, and Rite-Aid locations.

Fifth Third Bank has 142.4 billion dollars in assets and only provides 2,650 ATMs to its customers. White Rose Credit Union has a modest 75 million dollars in assets, and yet still provides its members with over 1,000 ATMs!

  1. 3. Four words – lower fees, higher returns!

Bankrate found that 84% of credit union checking accounts don’t have any monthly maintenance fees attached! They also found the average overdraft fee at a bank is $35, compared to just $27.76 at a credit union. While all financial institutions charge fees, at a credit union you’ll pay less on average for these fees.

That’s not to mention they also beat banks on higher return rates and lower interest fees on loans! This analysis by the NCUA found these average returns on popular products.

Product Credit Union Average Bank Average
5-year CD – 10k 1.64% 1.34%
Credit Card 11.61% 12.96%
User Car Loan, 48 Months 2.95% 5.14%

Even the smallest rate difference can have a major impact over time. Take a look at your current accounts to see if you could save money by switching to a credit union.

  1. 4. You’re supporting your local community.

Most credit unions serve a smaller population area than a national bank. Because their services are focused in one geographic location, they can truly benefit the local economy. Plus, credit unions are not-for-profit institutions. That means their profits go back to the members in the form of lower fees, higher returns, and expanded services.

When you take out a loan at a credit union, chances are you’re helping to put someone’s child through college – not lining a shareholder’s pocket. If you support the ‘Shop local’ mentality, keep it going by placing your money at a local institution as well.

  1. 5. At a credit union, you’re more than an account number.

One of the major differences between a bank and a credit union is how the institution views you. At a bank, you’re likely just a number. Your sole purpose for them is to generate profits for their shareholders.

At a credit union, you’re a member. Credit unions are member-owned, and your savings account is called a share account for a reason. It represents your share of the credit union. You have the ability to shape the direction of the institution by running for their board of directors in a volunteer capacity. Surplus earnings are invested back into the credit union to benefit members.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has customer ratings for financial institutions that go back many years. Since 2008, credit union ratings have fluctuated between 80 and 87. Bank ratings during that same time period have fluctuated between 75 and 81. The fact that credit unions continually rank higher in customer satisfaction is proof you’re more than an account number.

Find out if you qualify to join White Rose Credit Union.

Visit our Join WRCU page to learn about our specific membership eligibility requirements and to discover what products and services we offer our members. Our members enjoy every one of the 5 benefits listed in this article! Discover how to join WRCU here.

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